The German EU Council Presidency in the light of coronavirus

The German EU Council Presidency begins on 1 July. It will have to adapt to the changed conditions caused by the coronavirus crisis.

In an article published in “Welt am Sonntag“, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced that the German EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020 would be a “Coronavirus Presidency”. The aim was for Europe to emerge from this crisis stronger, more solidary and sovereign than it had entered it.

The fight against the virus and economic reconstruction in Europe will be the focus, but important priorities already set before the crisis with regard to climate protection, digitalisation and of course the EU budget will be maintained. A new article on the Federal Foreign Office’s website states that “a major package for economic and social recovery” is needed by adapting the MFF and by creating a reconstruction fund.

The future relationship with the UK must also be clarified by the end of 2020, which constitutes a major challenge given the multitude of unresolved issues.

With all these major issues, the Council Presidency will have to deal with very difficult framework conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic will not only influence the Council Presidency’s thematic priorities, but also the way of doing politics. Priority will have to be given to projects that are legally binding and have to be dealt with by the end of 2020.

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